Army chaplain, Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase

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Date:1915 - 1918 (c.)

Description:Rev. John Reay, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He conducted ANZAC services at the Army Training Camps on Cannock Chase and was Vicar of Hednesford in 1919 having previously been Curate at St Barnabas Mission Church, Stoke on Trent. Prior to that he was science master at Hanley Secondary School. Reverend Reay, M.C.,mM.Sc. became a chaplain with the army in France during the First World War. He was decorated for rescuing wounded men from 'No Man's Land' whilst under fire. After the war he conducted the first services at the Military Cemetery on Cannock Chase. Later the services lapsed until being revived by Cannock Chase Military Historical Society. Under the Society the popularity of the services grew so large that the British Legion took over their organization. The services are now the largest to commemorate ANZAC Day outside Australia and New Zealand. Rev. Reay became Rector of Bingham, Nottingham in 1933 after 14 years as vicar of St Peters, Hednesford. He died at Darlington in 1955 aged 74.

Battalions from the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were stationed at Rugeley Camp between November 1915 and November 1918.

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Donor ref:14_003r (218/36243)

Source: Mr Jake Whitehouse

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